The Healthy Balance of School and Play While Abroad

Noa Solomon
May 2, 2022

While studying abroad, it is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of everything. Since you are being introduced to a new city, new people, new cuisine, basically new everything, it takes time to adjust and when you finally are adjusted is when the fun really begins. Once finally acclimated, the idea of school can feel like a second or even third priority.

Contrary to common belief, one of my favorite parts of abroad was going to school. One of the aspects I loved most, was that my teachers were all people who had been living in Barcelona for awhile now. They were able to provide me with insight about the city while I was getting adjusted and helped make the transition as seamless as possible.

Another reason that I really appreciated school while being here is because the curriculum was very different from what I was used to back at my University. At my college in Wisconsin, I am used to my classes being pretty all over the place. I learn about math, science, and history all at once that really don’t have a connection to each other. While abroad, it felt as though the classes I was taking were interconnected. Although they weren’t about the same subject, time and time again I found myself seeing links to each and every one of my classes. I was also learning about subjects that were relevant to me at the time. One of my favorite classes, Barcelona: City As a Place to Live, was about the foundations and roots of the city and how it was built. I was learning things in the classroom that I was able to apply to everyday life.

I also loved being able to meet new people from different schools that were in my class. This is such a unique experience because I was taking classes with people that go to school all over America. At the start, I was worried because I wasn’t taking classes with any of my friends. I had my hesitations because I wasn’t able to use my friends as a crutch in feeling more comfortable within a classroom. Slowly over time, the aspect of me not having any friends from Wisconsin in my classes went from scary to my favorite part of school. I was able to make all new friends, some that I will even stay in touch with post abroad. I was able to branch out and make all new connections which felt so good!

I also must say, that the teachers that I met during my time in the IES Abroad building truly made the experience so enjoyable for me. I would look forward to seeing my teachers after weekend trips just so I could tell them everything I did and they were always so eager to lsiten. I built strong bonds with my teachers which makes it that much harder to leave IES Abroad, but I know that I will stay in touch with a few of them when I return back to the states. 

Like I said before, it's easy to get caught up in time abroad and feel that school is a waste of time, however, it honestly and truly was what made my study abroad experience what it was. If it wasn’t for going to my 9 a.m.s every morning or studying after school with a few new friends from class, I wouldn’t have been able to make some of my fondest memories. Although I am heart broken for this journey to end, I do have alot to look forward to and the people that I met while being in the building of IES Abroad really helped me with that transition.

Noa Solomon

<p>Noa Solomon is an avid sports enthusiast, foodie and animal lover. She studies at the University of Wisconsin as a Journalism major where she excersises her passion for writing, as well as double minoring in sports communication and special education. She was born and raised a city girl, coming from the big apple itself, Manhattan, New York. She studied at the Professional Performing Arts School in Times Square as a drama major for 7 years and continues to participate in acting as much as she can. She was just featured in the 90s teen comedy film Generation Wrecks as Brittney Pratt this past September.</p>

2022 Spring
Home University:
University of Wisconsin - Madison
New York CIty, NY
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